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The Role of Commissioning in Owner Training

Innovations in building technology and design continue to improve how mechanical, electrical, and plumbing systems operate to maintain safe, comfortable, and healthy indoor spaces. Those systems have become more reliable, energy efficient, and often fully integrated into sophisticated Building Automation Systems (BAS). However, they still require a trained and knowledgeable facility team to run and maintain them. That’s why MWA recognizes that Owner training is an essential component of any construction project.

Training requirements are usually developed by the design team during a project’s pre-bid phase and then integrated into the Owner’s Project Requirements (OPR) and Project Specifications. The requirements typically outline who will receive training, what systems and level of instruction will be covered, who will provide the training, and how the training will be tracked.

During the construction phase, a Commissioning Authority (CxA) reviews the submitted O&Ms along with the contractors’ training plans, verifying they are consistent with the requirements outlined in the OPR and Project Specifications. The CxA will also make sure the training includes how the equipment and systems work together, bridging any gaps that might exist between individual contractors’ scopes of work. As the project approaches substantial completion, the CxA works with the Owner’s personnel, General Contractor, subcontractors, and vendors to schedule and coordinate when the training will take place, who needs to attend, and how training will be recorded or documented.

MWA’s commissioning engineers recognize that successful training begins with understanding the specific needs of the facility team (what scope and level of training will be most beneficial) and communicating those needs with the various presenters. The training sessions should include a clear and comprehensive break down of the new MEP and building controls systems, along with identifying equipment locations, pointing out potential safety concerns, and demonstrating all modes of normal operating, emergency instructions, and energy conservation techniques. Such training provides a blend of classroom sessions with hands-on opportunities for operators, and plenty of time allotted for questions.

As a commissioning provider, one of MWA’s goals is to ensure that when a project is over and all the contractors have left the building, the facility team shows up on day one confident they’ve received the best training to successfully operate and maintain all the new systems.